Because of their world view, people who suffer from PPD have a tendency to isolate themselves and may become hostile to people who threaten this isolation, such as family members, partners and friends.
PPD Characteristics & Traits
Acting In - Acting In behavior refers to a subset of personality disorder traits that are more self-destructive than outwardly-destructive.
Alienation - The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual's relationships with others.
"Always" and "Never" Statements - "Always" and "Never" Statements are declarations containing the words "always" or "never". They are commonly used but rarely true.
Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.
Chaos Manufacture - Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.
Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.
Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.
Confirmation Bias - The tendency to pay more attention to things which reinforce your beliefs than to things which contradict them.
Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.
Depression - When you feel sadder than you think you should, for longer than you think you should - but still can't seem to break out of it - that's depression. People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with depression resulting from mistreatment at the hands of others, low self-worth and the results of their own poor choices.
Dissociation- Dissociation is a psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.
Engulfment - An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.
False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.
Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.
Feelings of Emptiness - An acute, chronic sense that daily life has little worth or significance, leading to an impulsive appetite for strong physical sensations and dramatic relationship experiences.
FOG - Fear, Obligation & Guilt - The acronym FOG, for Fear, Obligation and Guilt, was first coined by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier in Emotional Blackmail and describes feelings that a person often has when in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder. Our website, Out of the FOG, is named after this acronym.
Gaslighting - The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”.
Hyper Vigilance - Maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.
Hysteria - An excessive reaction to a threat, bad news or disappointment, which diverts attention away from the problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.
Imposed Isolation - Actions taken by an abuser to discourage a victim from developing supportive, external relationships.
Lack of Boundaries - A lack of boundaries is often at the root of long-term abusive relationships. Lack of boundaries means the absence of rules, limits and guidelines for acceptable behavior. Inconsistent or intermittent reinforcement of consequences for inappropriate behavior is common among both abusers and abuse victims.
Lack of Object Constancy - A symptom of some personality disorders, Lack of Object Constancy is an inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision. Object constancy is a developmental skill which most children do not develop until two or three years of age.
Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.
Low Self-Esteem - A common term used to describe a group of negatively-distorted self-views which are inconsistent with reality.
Magical Thinking - Magical Thinking is the practice of looking for supernatural connections between external events and one's own thoughts, words and actions.
Masking - Covering up one's own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.
Neglect - A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
No-Win Scenarios - No-Win Scenarios and Lose-Lose Scenarios are situations commonly created by people who suffer from personality disorders where they present two bad options to someone close to them and pressure them into choosing between the two. This usually leaves the non-personality-disordered person with a 'damned if I do and damned if I don't' feeling.
Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.
Passive-Aggressive Behavior - The expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (for example, through procrastination and stubbornness).
Projection - The act of attributing one's own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.
Selective Competence - The practice of demonstrating different levels of intelligence or ability depending on the situation or environment.
Self-Harm - Self Harm, also known as self-mutilation, self-injury or self-abuse is any form of deliberate, premeditated injury inflicted on oneself, common among adolescents and among people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. The most common forms are cutting and poisoning/overdosing.
Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.
Self-Victimization - Self-Victimization or "playing the victim" is the act of casting oneself as a victim in order to control others by soliciting a sympathetic response from them or diverting their attention away from abusive behavior.
Silent Treatment - A passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.
Splitting - The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely "good" or completely "bad".
Thought Policing - A process of interrogation or attempt to control another individual's thoughts or feelings.
Triggering -Small, insignificant or minor actions, statements or events that produce a dramatic or inappropriate response.
Tunnel Vision - A tendency to focus on a single concern, while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) - The DSM Criteria
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) as a Cluster A (odd or eccentric) Personality Disorder.
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is defined as:
a pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her.
Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates.
Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her.
Reads benign remarks or events as threatening or demeaning.
Persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights.
Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack.
Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.
The traits, behaviors and characteristics:
Do not occur exclusively during the course of a mood disorder accompanied by psychotic features nor other psychotic disorders.
Are not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
A formal diagnosis of PPD requires a mental health professional to identify 4 out of the above 7 criteria as positive. Some people with PPD may exhibit all 7. Most will exhibit only a few.
Nobody’s perfect. Even normal healthy people will experience or exhibit a few of the above criteria from time to time. This does not make a person PPD.
Understanding the clinical criteria for Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is helpful but learning how to cope with having a loved-one who suffers from PPD is quite different.
One of the most effective ways we have found to deal with that is to get support from people who understand what it feels like to be in a relationship or be a family member of someone who suffers from a personality disorder and have learned how to cope. You can find people like that at our Support Forum.
PPD Causes and Treatment
The precise cause of PPD is unknown. PPD has been linked to schizophrenia in some studies which has led to a theory that its causes may be genetic in nature. Some nurturing element has also been associated to PPD.
Because of the nature of the disorder, it is often very difficult to persuade people who suffer from paranoid personality disorder to trust a mental health professional. In general, a combined regime of antidepressant or antipsychotic medication and psychotherapy are prescribed.
Movies Portraying Paranoid Personality Disorder Traits
The Caine Mutiny - The Caine Mutiny is a 1954 World War II drama which portrays the paranoia of a fictitious naval officer Phillip Queeg, played by Humphrey Bogart.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre tells the story of 3 American prospectors searching for gold in Mexico. One of the prospectors, Fred Dobbs, played by Humphrey Bogart, exhibits paranoid traits.
Five years ago, a photographer, an engineer, a writer, an office manager, a grandmother, a graphic artist, a law student, a husband, a librarian, and a stained-glass artisan came together to connect a diverse, isolated population in search of information, support, and growth as they strive to cope with a family members, spouses or partners who suffer from a personality disorder. Since its launch on November 1, 2007, Out Of The FOG has grown from a fledgling discussion group with 10 participants, to a vibrant community of over 4000 registered members world-wide, with new members joining every day.
On August 31 2012, the Out of the FOG Support Forum crossed two significant milestones - 100,000 member posts and 10,000 topics. Thanks to all who participate and contribute to the OOTF support board, which is a unique source of support to non-personality-disordered individuals all over the world.